Congressman Rick Nolan

Representing the 8th District of Minnesota
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Nolan Responds to USFS’s Continued Misguided Efforts to Withdraw Lands from Multiple Use Purpose

Jan 13, 2017
Press Release

[WASHINGTON D.C.] U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan today expressed his outrage at the U.S. Forest Service’s (USFS) decision to publish a misguided Notice of Intent to prepare a duplicative Environmental Impact Study (EIS) that would withdraw over 234,000 acres out of multiple-use purpose from the Superior National Forest.

“Make no mistake, this is an anti-mining tactic and waste of taxpayer dollars,” Nolan said. “Without being able to assess an actual project, the Forest Service’s plan is harmful to the environmental review process and should be rejected by new U.S. Department of Agriculture leadership.”

With this announcement, the outgoing Administration is reversing itself on a prior decision it made nearly two years ago not to undertake a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) on copper-nickel mining in the Boundary Waters and Rainy River Watershed. At that time, USFS, in conjunction with the Bureau of Land Management, said there would be a need for environmental analysis on future ‘mines’ but not the hypothetical impact of ‘mining’ broadly. It is virtually impossible to measure the impact of any commercial activity, including mining, without knowing the full scope of technology or pollution abatement features – driven by scientific discovery – that will be available and deployed to support the activity in question.

Nolan expressed further frustration with the notice’s failure to include an additional hearing in Ely or anywhere on Minnesota’s Iron Range, which will restrict access for input near the lands in question.

Nolan continued:

“Those of us who have lived on the Iron Range do not limit ourselves to protecting only the BWCA and its surrounding waters. We are committed to protecting ALL the waters and watersheds in our region. I will continue working with my colleagues in the new Congress and with the new Administration to ensure that we allow all mining initiatives to proceed through the proper rigorous and thorough process – using science, facts and technology to guide our decisions, while maintaining the BWCA’s water quality and the protection of its fish and wildlife. We have the brains and the technology to both have mining and protect our environment, and we should never be afraid of exploration and discovery.”